Hadestown Tour Actor J. Antonio Rodríguez's DACA Status Has Been Renewed | Playbill

National Tour News Hadestown Tour Actor J. Antonio Rodríguez's DACA Status Has Been Renewed

The actor, who is a DREAMer, will be able to resume work on the tour.

Matthew Patrick Quinn, J. Antonio Rodriguez, and Lana Gordon in Hadestown T Charles Erickson

Actor J. Antonio Rodriguez has not been able to perform in the Hadestown national tour since March 13, because his DACA status had not been renewed. But now, good news, he's gonna sing the song again! On April 4—a week after Playbill published an article about Rodriguez's situation, leading to a wave of public support for the actor—Rodriguez's DACA status was renewed. The actor can resume performing in Hadestown April 16.

As Playbill previously reported, Rodriguez is a Dreamer—a person who immigrated to America when they were very young and who remains undocumented. Since 2012, Rodriguez has been part of the DACA program, which gives undocumented immigrants who arrived in America as children a way to attend college, work, pay taxes, and secure a driver’s license—without fear of being deported. There are currently around 600,000 DACA beneficiaries. But anyone approved for DACA needs to have their status renewed every two years.

Due to the current backlog of immigration cases, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has delayed processing DACA applications. Rodriguez waited three months for his renewal, which previously only took a few days. 

In a statement posted on Instagram, Rodriguez wrote: "As a DREAMer, I always thought that I had to lay low, keep my head down, and never speak up in fear of retaliation. The fear was paralyzing. DREAMers are used to being treated as an afterthought, and many of us didn’t believe that people cared. I was so wrong. The immense support and love from my hometown, my theatre community and beyond has opened my eyes. I am so tremendously grateful that that support helped move the needle on my renewal."

Though this renewal allows Rodriguez to work for the next two years, it doesn't put him on a path to citizenship. A majority of Americans support Dreamers being given a path to citizenship, and the Dream Act has been proposed several times by members of both political parties since 2001—but Congress has been unable to pass a bill protecting undocumented immigrants who have lived in America their whole lives.

And in recent years, DACA has come under fire—the Trump Administration previously tried to terminate the program. Last September, a federal judge in Texas ruled that DACA was "unlawful," preventing the program from accepting new applicants—though DACA can still process renewals. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the court case challenging DACA. So though Rodriguez's status has been renewed, he will have to go through the same process in two years. And USCIS has just announced that beginning April 1, it is increasing the price for DACA renewal from $495 to $555 for online renewals (paper renewals now cost $605).

Says Rodriguez: "600,000 of us are going to continue dealing with this until there is a path for DREAMers to become citizens. Please continue being a voice for the voiceless. I can’t wait to be back with my Hadestown Fam on April 16th, and I’m so grateful that I get to sing it again."

Check out Photos of the North American Tour of Hadestown

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